This conversation was philosophical and mind-bending with Anand Neelakantan. He has dedicated his life to researching Indian culture.
He is an Indian author, columnist, and public speaker. He is someone who\’s specifically known for his mythological fiction writings. From books like \’Asura: Tale of the Vanquished (2012)\’ which was based on the Indian epic Ramayana, told from the perspective of Ravana, followed by a series of books based on characters from Mahabharata and Baahubali
Anand Neelakantan on Writing Books
“It is more of imagination. Knowledge is something easy to get. Now everything is available at your fingertips. It is more about creativity and imagination.”
“Most of the stories are metaphorical. There are 2-3 stories in Ramayana that talk about the cyclical nature of Ramayana.”
“The story of Lord Hanuman going to Patal Lok to get Lord Rama’s ring shows the cyclic nature. Lord Hauman sees a huge mountain of rings in front of him. He asks Mahabali where did all these rings come into Patal Lok. Mahabali says that in every Yuga, of every Ramayana, Lord Rama throws his ring here so that Hanuma is distracted and Lord Rama can go back, and by the time he tells this, Lord Hanuman just leaves.”
“As per the Hindu cosmology, there is no beginning and end. It is just multi big bang. There are different characters.”
Different Versions Of Ramayana
“There are stories where these characters are Muslim. In Kerela, one of the versions of Ramayana is in half Arabic and half Malayalam. The stories and morals are the same, just the characters changes.”
“In the Philippines version of Ramayana, Sita is the daughter of Ravana. Ravana brings Sita back home. But, after a while, he tells her to go back, but she refuses, as she wants to make peace between her husband and father.”
“In the Buddhist version, the birthplace of Lord Rama is Varanasi and not Ayodhya. There are some versions where Sita kills Ravana.”
On His Book- Asura
“My purpose was to show it is not good or evil. It is all about perspective. There are many Ravana temples as well in different places in India. The Ravana Dhahan happens mainly in the regions of North India.”
Is Ravana Re-Incarnation?
“Jaya and Vijaya are the bodyguards of Vishnu. Once Lord Vishu ordered his bodyguard to not let anyone inside his room as he was meeting some Rishis. Rishi Durvasa came in, and the bodyguards didn’t allow him inside. He cursed them and left. When they said this to lord Vishnu, he said you have two choices: take 100 life as my devotee or three life as my enemy and let’s teach the work a valuable lesson.”
“So we see their incarnation in each life of Lord Vishnu. May it be Ravana and Kumbhakarna or Hiranya Kashyap or his brother. Ravan is just playing a part of evil. Ravan is a character who won’t stop. He wants everything.”
Parallels In Ramayana
“Whereas Rama is detached. There are hundreds of ways to look at Ramayana. In the place where Sita was born, her father was happy to have daughters, whereas Dasharatha didn’t want a daughter. Each character is linked to the real world.”
Why is Ravana Worshipped?
“Ravana is prayed for knowledge. He wrote many books and poetry. When we hear about villains, we have certain views. But, it is much more layered. In India, black is considered auspicious. May it be lord Krishna or Goddess Kali.
Significance Of Dussehra
“Dussehra is celebrated all over the world. It is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Kali in the eastern part of the world. In Kerala, it is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Saraswati.”
“In the south, Diwali is celebrated for Lord Krishna killing Narakasura. In Mysore, Goddess Chamundi is worshipped.”
“Swami Ayyapan is worshipped in the south. It has the second highest number of pilgrim visits. He is the son of Shiva and Vishnu in his Mohini avatar. Many people would have not heard about him.”
“Ravana is about passion. In my book Asura, I have elaborated on that. Ravana takes it to the extreme, and that is his fault. But he gives an important aspect of life that you can’t live as a complete human being by giving up everything. We can try to control lust and anger, but we can’t get rid of them. Ravana doesn’t want to control.”